The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

5081.0: Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 12:30 PM

Abstract #68064

Stressful life events and environmental stress as predictors of alcohol use among middle school students

Jean-Francois Riand, MA, Community Health Research Group, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Suite 309, Conference Center Bldg, Knoxville, TN 37996-4133, 865.974.4511, and Sandra L Putnam, PhD, Community Health Research Group, University of Tennessee, Suite 309, Conference Center Building, Knoxville, TN 37996.

Stress has been found to be a factor leading to alcohol and other drug (AOD) use and the escalation of use to abuse in patients in drug treatment and health settings, but relatively little is known about the effects of stress on AOD use and abuse in childhood and adolescence. The goal of this study is to identify, controlling for known protective and risk factors, the influence of stressful life events (such as family and personal loss and serious illness) and ongoing environmental stressors (disadvantaged environments, homes in which a parent or other relative is a substance abuser or is violent and neighborhoods with high levels of crime and drug use) that may place youth at risk for alcohol use. Data are from a cross-sectional survey of approximately 44,000 middle school students in 165 randomly selected Tennessee public schools in 13 Tennessee health department regions in 2002. Logistic regression is used to isolate the influence of stressors, operating both individually and cumulatively. Results show that controlling for a set of relevant variables (sociodemographic characteristics, parental guidance, attitude to and performance in school, leisure time activities, peer pressure, risk perception), both stressful life events and sub-optimal environments are strong predictors of alcohol use, with a cumulative effect also observed. Authors will discuss the implications of the results for AOD screening and prevention programs for middle-school-age students, emphasizing the crucial importance of targeting students reporting high levels of interpersonal and environmental stress because of their increased vulnerability to alcohol use.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Adolescents, Substance Abuse Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Underage Drinking Prevention: The Problem that Never Goes Away

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA